American Wrestler: The Wizard                        review Bobby Blakey

I love a good inspirational film and most of them are usually focused on some sport of some sort. The latest, American Wrestler: The Wizard features a great cast including William Fitchner, Jon Voight, George Kosturos, and Ali Afshar, but does it pack the hits needed to inspire or will it get pinned before it’s over?

American Wrestler: The Wizard follows 17-year-old Ali Jahani, a newcomer to a small California town, where he stands out as different in an unwelcoming community. Living with his embittered uncle, the boy faces a mountain of adversity everywhere he turns. Rejected by everyone but determined to fit in, he joins the school's floundering wrestling team. With a chance to change how others see him, Ali must step up and learn to be a hero. I was pretty surprised how good this movie is as the trailers seemed like it was going to be pretty generic and while on some level it is it still works. There is nothing here you haven’t seen a thousand times over, but the nature of the time and culture they are dealing with makes it feel like something different.

Make no mistake this film isn’t breaking down any walls, but the overall execution works. There is more here than just a story about wrestling, but about people trying to get past diversity and discrimination against not only the people in the gym during the match and the small town, but the nation due to things happening in the world at that time. At times there is a more generic tone to it that could hinder it for some people, but overall it still manages to work with great performances and a good story worth checking out.

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